Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, has declared that Epic Games will win the battle for best digital storefront based on its relationship with developers, not with customers. According to Sweeney, consumers already have the best experience they are going to have using those kinds of platforms, so having a better selection of games will be more important for drawing in new customers.
Sweeney's logic is that, since digital storefronts have been trying to appeal to consumers through the user experience for so long, there's very little left to improve in that area. Adding a few convenient features or making installation easier is no longer enough to displace customers from their current favorites, especially names as well-entrenched in the gaming industry as Valve and Steam.
As PC Games Insider points out, this is an odd thing for the founder of Epic Games to say. Not because it's false, but because the digital storefront is not known for having the most user friendly features. In fact, the Epic Games Store didn't even have a search function until this week, and still doesn't have any social features.
However, placing developers first has lead to some major successes for Epic Games, especially for grabbing exclusives. Besides the obvious Fortnite and Unreal Tournament, Epic Games is also the home of Monster Hunter-like Dauntless, The Division 2 (first AAA game to favor Epic Games over Steam), and Genesis Alpha One, which was actually slated for a Steam release until a few days ago.
Sweeney also stated that Epic Games wants to attract developers by making the type of digital storefront they would have wanted to work with when the company was only involved with game development. Part of this is Epic Games' generosity towards developers. The new digital storefront takes far less revenue from game sales than its competitors - only 12% compared to Steam and Apple's 30%.
Many developers have already stated their intention of releasing games on the Epic store rather than Steam. Matthew Karch, the CEO of Saber Interactive, even made a public statement declaring they believe releasing on Epic is better for both players and developers. This is because, by dropping the storefront cut into revenue, developers have more money to spend on making the games themselves, and can even lower the price of games.
Only time will tell whether Epic Games will be able to dethrone Steam. However, after stealing so many titles out from under their competitor's nose, and with the roaring success of Fortnite behind them, the new kid on the block is definitely not to be underestimated.